Are Tomatoes Healthy? The Health Benefits of Tomatoes Explained
Tomatoes originated in Western South America and spread around the world due to their delicious taste and immense health properties. Tomatoes are technically a fruit, however, they’re generally used in more savory dishes such as salads, pasta, and baked goods.
For a long time, tomatoes were considered to be poisonous. The plant was closely associated with the deadly nightshade family and therefore often mistaken for Mandrake. People only realized that they weren’t poisonous during the mid to late 17th century. Later, they were referred to as ‘ Pomodoro’ or ‘apple of gold’ in Italian because of the delicious taste and tremendous health benefits.
Since then, tomatoes have become well-integrated into almost every culture. Mediterranean cultures particularly enjoy them for their juicy freshness and amazing health benefits. But let us look closer at what exactly tomatoes can help with in terms of your health and how you can incorporate them into your diet more effectively.
Growing Tomatoes Explained
Tomatoes are generally a late-spring or early summer crop. They do best when they receive 6-8 hours of direct sunlight, given that they have enough water. Warmth tends to bring out the best flavors as the extra photosynthesis aids in growth and phytonutrient development.
Tomatoes should always be grown off the ground. The fruit enjoys a relatively neutral soil and will thrive best in a pH balance of roughly 6.2 -- .6.8. They need watering regularly and don’t do so well in overly humid regions. This is because dense humidity creates the conditions perfect for the growth of bacteria. (Hence their success in drier, more sunny regions such as the Mediterranean, South America, Southern Africa, Spain etc.).
Depending on the variety of tomato, it can take anywhere from 49 to 100 days for your crop to be ready to harvest.
Vitamin C Content Of Tomatoes Explained
Tomatoes contain a surprisingly large amount of vitamin C. On average, a ripe red tomato contains roughly 9 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams. Although, this number gets higher with more unripened versions of the fruit. For instance, green tomatoes contain roughly 23.4 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams and orange tomatoes contain roughly 16 milligrams of vitamin C per 100 grams.
So if you’re purely looking for vitamin C, it pays to eat fresher, more unripened ones in order to ensure that you get a higher dosage (although I’d recommend that you cook them or juice them before consuming them, as they won’t taste as good as ripe tomatoes). Sun-dried tomatoes have the most vitamin C content out of all tomatoes at around 39.2 milligrams per 100-gram serving.
Tomato Juice For Health: Does Juicing Alter Health Benefits?
Using tomatoes in juices is beneficial because you can use more of the nutrient properties of the fruit. The skin and seeds have the highest concentration of the antioxidant known as lycopene. This aids detoxification and will greatly promote a stronger immune system. You can also utilize the seeds more effectively in juice as they’re easier to consume this way.
Tomato juices are known to improve eyesight, prevent the formation of cancer, lower cholesterol levels, and decrease the risk of heart disease. I recommend using three tomatoes, an orange, strawberries, blueberries, and an apple to make a pretty potent health juice. This juice will strengthen your immune system and prevent the onset of general disease.
Benefits Of Tomatoes For Skin Explained
Tomatoes are incredibly beneficial for skin care. They can be used both internally and topically to achieve great results in a short space of time. They have been known to aid breakouts, controlling acne, reducing pore size and even slowing the effects of aging. This is most likely due to their high lycopene content, an antioxidant which helps reduce the effects of free radical damage, by allowing your body to flush free radicals out for good.
Tomatoes are also rich in vitamins A, C, and K, making them incredibly beneficial for skin cell growth and preservation. This applies whether you’re eating them or applying their juice directly to your face.
I would recommend taking 3-4 teaspoon of tomato juice and adding another teaspoon of lime or lemon juice to the mixture, with a drop or two of either eucalyptus oil or lavender oil and then applying this directly to your face with a cotton ball. Leave the mixture on your face for roughly 15 minutes and then rinse off with cold water. This will keep your skin clean and hydrated, while also providing it with the nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Tomatoes For Cancer Prevention Explained
Tomatoes contain a rich content of folate, lycopene, various antioxidants, vitamins, and beta-carotene. Their role as an anti-inflammatory food is well known in the medical world. They are used to help prevent a variety of different diseases and health ailments, including cancer.
Tomatoes are known for reducing the occurrence of prostate, breast and lung cancer due to their high lycopene content. The recommended daily intake of lycopene is 22 mg and two tablespoons of tomato pureé contain around 27 mg. On average, people who consumed the necessary amount of lycopene were 30% more likely to avoid developing pancreatic cancer. The high concentration of vitamin A is great for reducing the effects of cigarettes on the lungs by reducing carcinogen count.
Benefits Of Tomatoes For Vision Explained
Many of us assume that carrots are the best food source to help improve and maintain our eyesight. However, tomatoes are just as good at doing this, if not better in certain ways. They are rich in vitamin A and beta-carotene which are directly linked to improving eyesight and preventing night blindness.
Tomatoes also contain a high amount of lutein, a compound that is known for protecting our retinas from degenerative damage. Long-term exposure to UV light from the sun causes this. The antioxidants also help to prevent free radical damage. By including tomatoes in your diet, you can prevent the onset of early blindness or eye diseases such as cataracts.
The best way to ensure that your eyes stay healthier for longer is to monitor your eating habits from an early stage in your life. Make sure you get many beta-carotenoids, vitamin A and C and a healthy dosage of antioxidants in your diet. This prevents the onset of eye infections or degenerative diseases, as well as prepares your body for UV light damage from the sun for later in life.
Tomatoes For Weight Loss And Digestion Explained
It’s important to remember that no food alone can help you lose weight. Instead, weight loss is really a process that one has to stick to in order to see results. That said, tomatoes can be very effective for weight loss when combined with the correct diet and regular exercise.
Tomatoes contain very little calories which means that you can eat them to get full, without worrying about putting on the extra pounds. On average, a large tomato contains roughly 33 calories per serving and smaller tomatoes contain even less. For instance, half a cup of cocktail tomatoes contains roughly 13 calories -- a perfect addition to a salad or even as a snack on their own.
Tomatoes also have small amounts of naturally occurring sugars, potassium, a variety of vitamins and even a small helping of protein. So, you can use them to supplement your diet with much-needed essentials to stay healthy without gaining too much weight. They’re a great source of energy and help keep your mind focused throughout the day. This is because they’re easy to digest and loaded with nutrient and vitamin goodness.
The rich antioxidant content of tomatoes also helps to flush out toxins that may increase cholesterol levels or slow your heart rate. This makes it easier for your body to burn excess fat cells and keep you in shape.
Tomatoes For Cholesterol And Heart Health Explained
Tomatoes are incredibly beneficial for heart health and managing cholesterol levels. This is due to the strong amount of naturally occurring antioxidants found in them. These antioxidants, such as lycopene, beta-carotenoids, vitamin E and flavonoids are incredibly good at flushing out free radicals from our system and preventing much of the damage they have been known to cause in our bodies.
By reducing the amount of free radicals that occur in our bodies over time, we can ensure that we reduce internal inflammation and keep our blood thin while promoting a decrease in LDL (Low-Density Lipids) cholesterol. LDL cholesterol causes our veins to become blocked with plaque buildup, ultimately slowing our blood flow. This leads to low blood pressure and increases our risk of suffering from a heart attack or a stroke.
The high amount of lutein found in tomatoes helps to prevent our veins from thickening over time. This makes it easier for blood to travel around our body, allowing our organs to get the nutrients, vitamins, and oxygen they need to remain healthy. I recommend combining tomatoes and broccoli together for an amazing antioxidant blend that can really help to improve your heart health and keep LDL cholesterol levels in check over time.
Most of us have been enjoying tomatoes without realizing how beneficial they are for our health. Knowing how good they are for us and tasting great makes it a lot easier for us to take care of our health in a way that is simple and easy to do. There’s no need for expensive medication and costly, life-threatening surgery if you eat the right stuff from the start.
I love that tomatoes can be enjoyed in a variety of different dishes, making them perfect for any time of year, or any time of day for that matter. I’ve included them in my juice diet for some time and must agree that you can feel the health benefits in your body even after one glass of juice. So if you’re looking for an easy way to stay in shape, or simply want to make sure that you’re at your healthiest, I would definitely recommend tomatoes.